Children’s Mental Health Week – Growing up can be tough!

February 07, 2024

Navigating life and all its ups and downs can be overwhelming for children. As parents, guardians, teachers and leaders, we want to support and guide young minds as best we can to promote positive mental health.

Christie Mc Mahon, Physical Activity Coach with ABC Council delivers a variety of sports and physical activities across the borough. Christie highlights how being active and staying active can positively impact children’s physical and mental health.

The power of exercise

Developing healthy habits in early childhood can make a big impact on a child’s relationship with exercise and fitness as they grow and mature. From taking part in a team sport or doing any form of physical activity, it all counts towards a healthy body and healthy mind.

The UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines recommend that children and young people aged 5-18 years aim for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week. For kids to get the maximum benefits, all activities should make them breath faster and feel warmer.

Benefits of exercise

As adults, we know the proven benefits of exercise and the link between physical and mental health. The same applies to children!

  • Being physically active helps children to: build confidence and social skills; develop co-ordination; strengthen muscles and bones; maintain healthy weight; improve sleep; improve general health and feel good.
  • Doing exercise also releases chemicals to the brain to make children feel happier, more relaxed and less anxious. This is extremely encouraging to know that there are ways to support a child who is experiencing difficult emotions.
  • Every child is different and the beauty of exercise is that there are lots of ways to get active – it doesn’t have to be a marathon or a competitive sport. Other ways to stay fit and healthy include: playing outdoors; walking or running; cycling; swimming; skate boarding; skipping; climbing; dancing and gymnastics.

As parents and caregivers we can all encourage children to get outdoors, get active and get moving and experience the joy of being fit.

In need of some inspiration? Check out what’s on across getactiveabc!

Click here for further information and support on children’s mental health and wellbeing.

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